The treatment and survival rate for colon cancer has continually improved over the last few decades thanks to annual screenings, according to the American Cancer Society.1
Since colon cancer can happen to anyone, regardless of family history, regular screenings are recommended at the age of 50 or older. Preventing colon cancer is an important reason to get tested. Finding and removing polyps now may help prevent the occurrence of colon cancer later.
Lifestyle-related factors such as diet, weight, exercise, smoking and alcohol use may also put you at risk for colon cancer.2
*Note: Before either a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy, you will need to clean out your colon. Colon prep takes 1 to 2 days depending on which type of prep your doctor recommends. Some preps may be taken the evening before the test. For many people, the prep may be scarier than the actual test. If possible, plan to stay home during your prep time since you will need to frequently use the bathroom. The colon prep causes loose, frequent stools and diarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test.
Speak with your doctor to determine which test is best for you and how often to be tested. Testing may depend on your preferences, your medical condition and the resources available to you.
If you have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to begin screening at an earlier age and get tested using a different schedule.
If you are looking for a doctor to discuss your screening options, visit our Physician Finder tool to locate a provider within the Humana network.
1 “Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer,” American Cancer Society, last accessed August 7, 2017, (link opens in new window)https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
2 “Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors,” American Cancer Society, last accessed August 7, 2017, (link opens in new window)https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
3 “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed August 7, 2017, (link opens in new window)https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/screening/tests.htm
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